U.S.S. STAR [MONTICELLO], May 19, 1861.
SIR: From the time I reported to you yesterday I kept a strict watch on the movements of the enemy in and about the Sewell’s Point battery. Several noises were heard during the night, but not distinct enough for me to trace them. At 5:30 p.m. I heard distinct blows, as if from an ax, securing timber platforms for gun carriages inside of the embrasures, and immediately I ordered a shot to be fired over them. The rebels immediately hoisted a white flag, with some design on it, and fired a shot that cut the fore-spencer vangs near the gaff. I immediately went to quarters and returned their fire, which was continued by them. I expended 15 stand of grape, 12 10-inch shot, 32 10-inch shell, 10 shell for 32-pounders, and 45 32-pound shot, making a total of 114 shots, which I think did some execution among the rebels. I only desisted for want of ammunition, having only 5 8-pound charges remaining for the pivot gun. I regret that want of ammunition compelled me to retire, as I am satisfied I could have silenced the battery in a short time. I can not too highly praise the courage and patriotism of the officers and men under my command. They acted nobly and with great coolness, as the repeated firings, as above, will show. The action continued from 5:30 p.m. to 6:45 p.m., a duration of one hour and fifteen minutes. The battery is masked, thirteen embrasures having been erected behind a sand bank. The rebels had three rifled cannon and fired several volleys of minie balls, which struck the ship. The ship was struck five times by rifled cannon shot in the hull and upper works. The damage can be repaired by ourselves. I herewith enclose the report of the medical officer of this ship, by which you will perceive that two men were slightly wounded during the action.
I can not close this communication without calling the attention of the flag-officer to the valuable services of Lieutenant Daniel L. Braine, who had charge of our pivot, and who, during the whole action, displayed great coolness and skill in its management.
Very respectfully, your obedience servant,
Captain, and Commanding U.S.S. Star [Monticello]
Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion. Series I, Vol. 5. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1897.